Monday, April 25, 2011

NIU Hosts 8th Year of Philippine Youth Leadership Program

PYLP 8 Participants in Manila
Northern Illinois University is hosting a five-week institute from April 16 to May 21, 2011, for 22 Muslim and non-Muslim Filipino students and 4 adult leaders from the Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) and surrounding areas.  This institute, or exchange program, is funded by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and has been since 2002.  The exchange program's goal is to transmit knowledge and build action strategies among participants related to the following themes: civic education, leadership development, respect for diversity, inter-ethnic cooperation, volunteerism and community engagement.  By drawing on the example of civic society and diversity in the United States and by understanding the larger regional context in which contemporary conflicts in Mindanao exist, participants will acquire new perspectives to support future grassroots efforts to build closer cooperation and understanding among the different cultural, religious, and political groups in the southern Philippines.  This project is undertaken in partnership with the International Visitors Program-Philippines Alumni Foundation, Inc. (IVP-PHILS), and builds on the Philippine expertise of the major project supervisors.  Together with our partner organization, NIU is currently running the eighth year of the Philippine Youth Leadership Program. 

PYLP 8 Participants at NIU

PYLP year 8 is comprised of 22 third-year high school and first year college students, aged 15-17 years, and 4 adult leaders.  They were selected from all geographic parts of the ARMM and nearby areas in an open, merit-based recruitment strategy.  Through a range of formal and informal interactive learning workshops and site visits, the NIU-based institute will focus on advancing four general goals:  1) facilitating a dialogue and promoting greater mutual understanding and respect between Muslim and non-Muslim youth from the ARMM and surrounding provinces; 2) creating, educating and empowering a new generation of young leaders with a strong sense of civic responsibility and commitment to community development and meaningful social change; 3) increasing their understanding of American institutions that support ethnic diversity and religious pluralism; and 4) promoting a better overall understanding of the United States—its people, culture, values, civic institutions, and varieties of leadership.  

PYLP 8 Participants after the Official NIU Welcome Luncheon

The participants will attend sessions at NIU, Chicago and its suburbs, and Washington, D.C.   Dr. Susan Russell, Professor of Anthropology and Dr. Lina Ong, Director of the International Training Office, are co-directors of this program.            

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